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منگل، 3 جولائی، 2012

Release of an Indian spy

 Surjeet statemen has belied Indian claim. The modus operandi of Indian Army and Intelligence Agencies is to hire poor villagers from border areas for spying in Pakistan, and once they are caught, their families suffer indefinitely without any support.

 Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh, who spent more than 27 years in Pakistani jails on charges of espionage, was released from Kot Lakhpat jail on 28th June 2012 and handed over to Indian authorities at Wagah Border.
Soon after his release, Surjeet Singh confessed that he spied for Indian Army and Indian Intelligence Agency 'RAW' (Research and Analysis Wing). In a brief talk after his release, Surjeet Singh said that he had a pleasant time while being jailed in Pakistan, as Indian prisoners were being treated well. He however added that he kept on missing his home and family. Upon his arrival in India, he complained that no one from Indian government bothered about him after he had been arrested. Though Indian government denies that Surjeet Singh was Indian spy, but
Surjeet's statement has belied Indian claim. The modus operandi of Indian Army and Intelligence Agencies is to hire poor villagers from border areas for spying in Pakistan, and once they are caught, their families suffer indefinitely without any support.

Having that said, sending a large number of spies by RAW is an established practice, and these spies carry out subversive activities in Pakistan. Anyhow, most of the prisoners incarcerated in Indian and Pakistani jails are those who are involved in minor offences such as crossing the border unintentionally, staying with an expired passport, over-staying their visa, or fishing in the territorial waters of the other country mistakenly.
Unfortunately, these prisoners have borne the brunt of Indo-Pak hostility during last six decades. In 2008, two Pakistani prisoners died in Indian custody. One was Mehmoud Khalid, a Pakistani citizen, who had gone to India to watch a cricket test match where he lost his passport for which he was subjected to severe torture resulting in his death. According to Khalid's elder brother Siddiq, Khalid had sent them a couple of letters and messages from the Indian prison to the effect he had been facing torture at the hands of Indian authorities. Unfortunately nobody could save Khalid  neither any lawyer like Ansar Burney, nor any human rights organization.

 Another Pakistani prisoner Akram, age 35, expired in Indian custody who had crossed the border in the Kasur area and was arrested by the Indian authorities. He was a patient of schizophrenia. Akram's brother, Aslam claimed that "his brother was tortured to death by the Indian authorities. I have seen marks on his face". In 2006, a Pakistani sepoy Maqbool Hussain was released after forty years of incarceration by Indian authorities in a condition that he had a paralyzed body and imbalance mind, as he had gone through the worst kind of torture and cruelties. Such inhuman treatment of prisoners should stop forthwith, as many Pakistani prisoners coming back to home are physically sick and mentally disturbed. In other words, Pakistan has been swapping dead bodies and prisoners with imbalanced minds with the hale and hearty Indians that were held in Pakistani jails. The problem is that in Pakistan some NGOs and human rights activists care more for the Indians than their compatriots that have been languishing in Indian jails.
In 2008, Pakistan had released an Indian spy, Kashmir Singh, on humanitarian grounds. It is pertinent to mention here that Kashmir Singh had confessed his crime after his return to India. But instead of reciprocating the gesture, India had sent the dead bodies of two Pakistani prisoners. Watching media coverage of a hale and healthy Indian spy going back to his country amid warm farewell, and receiving the dead bodies of Pakistani prisoners in return, was heart-rending not only for the families of deceased prisoners but also for the entire nation. In Pakistan, Kashmir Singh was given hugs, showered with flower petals together with overwhelmed excited coverage of the media.
He was given a send-off by the human rights activists and celebrities at Wagah border. After the week amid joy and laughter, Pakistanis assembled again at the same point to receive the body of an innocent Pakistani cricket-lover Mehmood who had visited India to watch the Pak-India cricket series, and was reportedly picked up by Indian secret agencies.

This was the reason that the people of Pakistan were quite critical about government's decision of deferring the execution of Sarabjit Singh, who was alleged to be involved in 1991 bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan that killed 20 innocent people. So far as case of Sarabjeet Singh is concerned, it is different, as he has confessed that he carried out many bomb blasts in different cities of Pakistan causing deaths of scores of innocent Pakistanis. Sarabjit was awarded death penalty by the Anti-Terrorist Court in 1991, based on the original confession he had made before a magistrate. His sentence was upheld by the High Court and later by the Supreme Court. The government of Pakistan was likely to show leniency towards his case on 'humanitarian ground' amid the circumstances when the people were asking for his quick execution. According to a news item, daughters of a Pakistani victim killed in the 1991 bomb blast had threatened to fast unto death if Sarabjit Singh was pardoned.

The decision to show clemency towards him would not be a desirable step for the Pakistani government, especially when the Indian government had made it clear that no Pakistani prisoner would be released in exchange of Sarabjit Singh. Then Indian Minister of State for Home had said: "We have appealed to the Pakistani government and we hope that Pakistan will hear our appeal. Nobody will be released in exchange." Some sentimental fools demanded the release of Sarabjit singh when Dr. Khalil Chishti was released from jail and was allowed to come back to Pakistan. But there was no parallelism between him and Sarabjit Singh's case, as the former was convicted for murder that resulted from the brawl with some person, whereas Sarabjit had been convicted for acts of terrorism killing innocent citizens of Pakistan. It has to be mentioned that nowhere in the world terrorists and foreign spies are shown sympathy or given clemency.


 By Mohammad Jamil

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